Britain’s largest union, Unite warned of a ‘skills crisis’ as Ineos confirmed brutal cuts to pay, pensions and terms and conditions in a series of meetings this morning (Wednesday 4 December) with the Grangemouth workforce.
The cuts - part of the company’s ‘survival plan’ - include the closure of the pension scheme, cuts of £2,500 to shift allowances, a massive reduction in redundancy terms and the creation of a two-tier workforce, with new starters earning up to £4,000 a year less than existing staff.
The union warned that the cuts and uncertainty around plant closures on the site were resulting in skilled operatives finding or looking for better paid work elsewhere. Over the past few weeks the union revealed it had received a worrying number of enquiries from staff at the site seeking advice about leaving.
During this morning’s meetings Ineos also refused to give assurances over the future of five plants on the site, which the union fears are earmarked for closure and job losses.
Commenting Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary said: “There is a real danger that the price being exacted from the workforce by Ineos could backfire and lead to an exodus of skilled operatives attracted by better paid work elsewhere.
“There is already a shortage of skilled and experienced operatives in the industry and these aren’t people who you can train overnight. It takes years to become fully trained and the fear is that a brain drain will turn into a skills gap with new starters deterred by poor conditions and lower pay rates than existing staff.
“The brutality and meanness of these cuts and the way they were forced on to staff has sent a message out to the rest of the industry and turned what used to be viewed as a good employer into one to be avoided at all costs.
“Ineos needs to recognise that people are its most valuable asset and start engaging with them and Unite to ensure the site has the skills and the people to secure its future.”
For further information contact Alex Flynn, Unite head of media and campaigns, on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665 869.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.